A TRIBUTE TO DR. HARRY SNEIDER
Harry Sneider was an amazing man,”
larger than life”. His life story is one
of overcoming. He was always incredibly positive,
cheerful, faith filled, an inspiration and encouragement. He was a God centered individual and always
trusted God to direct his steps. Most of
all he was a CHAMPION PERSON! Touching
the lives of many around the world with his positive attitude, he made the
world a better place. Coach Sneider was always eager to help others achieve
their ultimate human potential. He
lived his life to the fullest with integrity, generosity, and an abiding faith
in God and a deep conviction to encourage others. To his family and
friends he was a larger than life hero and although he will be deeply missed,
his smile will live in our hearts forever. His was a life well lived. He was a WINNER!
Harry was born in Riga, Latvia
on March 19, 1941. When the Russians arrived in 1944 he and his
family escaped going through Krakow, Poland,
then into Czechoslovakia,
and eventually a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. While in Germany
he developed osteomyelitis in his leg and almost died at age 6. He basically became handicapped for the rest
of his life. In 1949 he and his family
came to the United States
and settled in Minneapolis, MN. It was there that Harry underwent another
surgery, this one requiring a nine-inch plate near his hip joint.
Never considering himself “handicapped” he played football
throwing better than the pros, softball, basketball, and won racquetball
championships. He was a world record
holder in the bench press, pressing 450 lbs at age 61! As a professional fitness trainer he trained
many actors including Susan Anton for her role in Golden Girl. He trained and was a good friend with Tony
Dow, Wally in “Leave it to Beaver”. Coach
Sneider trained many Olympic athletes, including Dwight Stones, 2 time Olympic
bronze medalist and 3 time world record holder in the high jump; James Butts,
Olympic silver medalist in the triple jump; Mark Gorski, Olympic gold medalist
in cycling. Harry was nominated Track
and Field Coach for the 1980 Olympics.
One of Coach Sneider’s memorable trainees was Bob Wieland,
who had had his legs blown off from the hip down while serving in the Vietnam
War. Harry completed four marathons with
Bob and encouraged Bob on his walk across the United
States on his knuckles to The White
House. Harry also trained long-time
friend Wayne Grimditch, winner of Superstars.
Lee Brandon, a graduate of Ambassador
College and 2-time World Long Drive
Champion was mentored by Harry. As a trainer of champions he was a longtime
friend of Jack LaLanne and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He developed a revolutionary fitness program
and authored the best selling book, Harry and Sarah Sneiders’ Olympic
Trainer. He created fitness videos Sneiders
20 Minute Workout DVD and Sneiders Resistive Rebounding DVD helping many
thousands to better health around the world.
He participated in The Great American Workout at The White House, Washington
D.C. in 1992.
He went to the University
of Minnesota for his A.A.
degree. In 1967 he came to California
to attend Ambassador College
and earned his B.A. degree and eventually his doctorate from Pacific
Western University. He was on the faculty at Ambassador
College and was Executive Fitness
Director until the college closed in 1990.
He then along with his wife, Sarah, and son Rob, continued to train
Olympians, champion athletes in tennis, track and field, basketball, volleyball,
soccer, baseball and more at Sneiders Family Fitness in Arcadia.
He was very involved in the Senior Olympics and hosted the annual Senior Games
Powerlifting Championships for 21 years. He also trained many families, couples,
as well as high school athletes to achieve college scholarships which he
continued up until his death. His son
Rob and wife Sarah continue the family business.
Hundreds of articles were written about Harry, including
Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and the L.A. Times. He wrote many articles for the local papers
and recently completed a manuscript about his 36 years as trainer and friend to
world chess champion Bobby Fischer which is being looked at by a movie
producer. He was filmed in the movie
Pumping Iron starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and more recently had a major role
in the documentary Bobby Fischer Against the World. He is also featured in the TV series The
Leading Gen. What will you do with the rest of your life? A recent interview with Neil Earle
and Harry Sneider can be viewed at http://www.dctvduarte.com/video_view.php?id=699868.
His family was always the center of his world and he leaves
behind his loving wife of over 45 years, Sarah, and his three children, Deborah
Morris, Karl Sneider and Rob Sneider, son-in-law Tom Morris, daughter-in-law
Leticia Sneider, four grandchildren, Madison Morris, Mason Morris, William
Sneider and Julian Sneider, his mother Elsa Sneider, brother Karl Peter
Sneider, sister Ilse Sneider and many nieces and nephews.